Discussions of gender-based violence (GBV) can difficult and triggering. In understanding how to support survivors and enhance the protection afforded to them, it is necessary to unpack some key terminology. This page will be updated from time to time to reflect the developing language and social understandings of GBV related issues.

If there is terminology you believe has been omitted, please feel free to contact us to help us expand this resource, by emailing [email protected].


An umbrella term for any behaviour inflicted on someone for the purpose of intimidating, harming, isolating or controlling them. Abuse manifests in various ways including, for example, physically, sexually, verbally, emotionally, financially or psychologically.

Applying force to another person without their consent or the imminent threat of doing so.

This is assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm. It is also commonly referred to as aggravated assault.


body policing: behaviour and activities that (either directly or indirectly) attempt to control a person’s actions regarding their own physical body.

See cissexism.


Refers to people whose gender corresponds with their sex assigned at birth.

The assumption that all people are cisgender.

The concept of forming discriminatory ideas based on the assumption that all people are cisgender. Within cissexism, cisgender people are the dominant group and trans and gender non-conforming people are the oppressed group.

The use of force to control or compel someone into doing something. Coercion can involve assault, humiliation or intimidation.

The voluntary and wilful agreement between two or more people to engage in an activity of their choosing.

Consent must be clear and informed.

A coordinated effort to victimise someone using various online platforms.

Broadly encompasses any harmful act which is meant to harass, threaten, or target someone through the use of technology.

Sending unsolicited images, often sexually explicit in nature, over an electronic device.

An umbrella term that refers to various forms of online harassment. It can be direct, for example through messaging on a digital platform, or indirect, for example through publishing online content which is harmful to the victim.


Referring to someone as their former name, usually the name they used prior to gender confirmation or reassignment, with the intention to harm. This is an act usually perpetrated against members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

An image, video or audio which has been altered, through artificial intelligence, to make it seem authentic.

Monitoring someone’s activity aided by digital devices on their electronic devices.

Sharing or publishing a person’s sensitive personal information with the intention of harassing, intimidating, or extorting them. Examples of sensitive personal information include someone’s home address, contact details, or images.


A wide range of behaviours in which the perpetrator exploits the victim’s economic circumstances to maintain control over them, including limiting their movement.

Harmful, controlling, or domineering behaviour that is perpetrated through verbal aggression, intimidation, and manipulation. Emotional abuse is a broad term and some examples of it include: blaming, shaming, hurling insults at the victim, gaslighting, infantilizing and the silent treatment, to name a few.


According to the World Health Organization, this comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The killing of women and girls on the basis of their gender.


A subtle form of psychological or emotional abuse in which the perpetrator deceptively causes the victim to question facts and events.

This is an adjective referring to people whose behaviours and ideologies do not subscribe to societal expectations of typical (cis)gender expressions or roles.

The way in which an individual chooses to outwardly express their gender through, for example, their choice of clothing, hair, or body language.


The practice of filming or recording  someone whilst they are being abused.

An abusive act or the threat of an abusive act that is intended to torment someone. Harassment may occur through a persistent pattern of behaviour or it may be an isolated incident.

Unauthorised access to a device or network. Generally, hacking aims to harm someone, steal their data, or violate their privacy. 

Negative and irrational attitude towards, or discrimination against, or aversion towards individuals who are queer.

The depiction of women and girls as sexual objects.


The unlawful use of someone’s personal information, usually for fraudulent purposes.

The intentional killing of women and girls by their current or former partners. It may, at times, involve other family members.




Describes a range of sexual and gender identities other than heterosexual and cisgender. LGBTQIA+ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual.



Publishing or distributing private, usually sexually-explicit, images of someone. This act was previously referred to as ‘revenge porn’, however ‘revenge’ insinuates that the victim did something to deserve this violation of their privacy, and is therefore no longer recommended.



The systemic dominance of men over women and children in all aspects of society. This system protects and reinforces deep-seated gender roles.

Relates to the range of factors that influence an individual’s environment and contribute to their state of mind.



The unlawful, intentional, and non-consensual sexual penetration or violation of someone.

Harmful and false beliefs which are used to excuse or justify r*pe and sexual violence. A common aspect of r*pe culture is apportioning blame onto a victim.


Remarks and attitudes which are intended to humiliate someone on the basis of their real or perceived sexual behaviour.

The act of manipulating someone for favours under the threat of publishing or distributing any information related to their sexual activity if they refuse the favour.


Negative and irrational attitude towards, discrimination against, or aversion of individuals who are transgender.

Using the internet to insult someone or to incite hostility online.







The intentional and unwanted disruption of a virtual meeting often to share pornographic or otherwise harmful images, or to use threatening and hateful language.

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